Community Programs Attributed For Drop In Memphis Homicides

(Memphis) Memphis is a safer city than it was this time last year.

According to police numbers, homicides dropped slightly in 2013, and most major US cities saw a similar trend.

There were ten less homicides in 2013 than the year before, and though the number may be relatively small, the city says a lot went into making that happen.

Unfortunately, parts of Memphis can be known for crime, but Ken Baker is noticing a difference.

“We still have our issues, but overall I have seen it reduce, especially downtown since I work downtown,” said Baker.

His observation is backed up by the numbers.

According to Memphis police, there were 129 murders in 2013 compared to 139 in 2012.

Bobby White, with Mayor A C Wharton’s office, says the biggest cause of the reduction is the Memphis Police Department’s community policing approach.

Part of community policing is embedding certain officers in specific neighborhoods and schools so they can get to know the people in the area and be ready to stop crime before it happens.

“These men and women who go out on the streets every day and put themselves in harm’s way just deserve all of our respect and we can look at the numbers and see they continue to have great impact out there in the community,” said White.

Mayor A C Wharton’s office also launched the Memphis Gun Down program in 2013 and they call it a success.

The program fights crimes by targeting specific people who committing crimes and partnering faith-based and other programs to offer education and mentor opportunities for teenagers.

“We just continue to stay the course and just keep our nose to the grindstone and I know we will see positive things moving forward in 2014,” said White.

White says Memphis Gun Down took some tips from Chicago who saw a massive drop in murders last year.

Chicago launched its own $55 million program that got 20,000 young people into summer school and part-time jobs.

In return the city reduced murders 17 percent to 415, and Chicago PD has taken more than 6,500 illegal guns of the streets since last year.

Despite the sharp fall, Chicago still had the most murders in the country last year.

Other major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and LA also saw sharp decreases.

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